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RIYADH: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority aims to create a leading economy driven by data and AI and to make Saudi Arabia one of the best countries when it comes to technology, said said the deputy director of the agency.

Mishari Al-Mishari, the Deputy Director of SDAIA, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Global AI Summit in Riyadh that SDAIA was created to be the guardian of the national agenda on data and AI.

“The SDAIA was created to have an entity that will be the guardian of the national data and artificial intelligence agenda to create a leading data and AI-driven economy,” he said. declared.

The conference, organized by the SDAIA, hosted up to 30,000 hybrids and in-person attendees and had representatives from more than 90 countries, he said.

“In this summit, we did not limit ourselves to dialogues and discussion; we also emphasized experience,” he added.


The conference, organized by the SDAIA, hosted up to 30,000 hybrids and in-person attendees and had representatives from more than 90 countries, said Mishari Al-Mishari, deputy director of the SDAIA.

More than 40 use cases designed by leading AI companies and institutes were showcased at the conference, allowing attendees to interact with, live and experience AI and to understand how it could improve their lives, Al-Mishari said.

During the event, SDAIA Chairman Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi announced that the Kingdom is joining the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership.

“We share a common vision with the DDP. The partnership will bring together the public and private sectors and accelerate safe and inclusive digital transformation in developing countries,” Al-Ghamdi said.

He added: “I am convinced that we will make a real difference. I look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

Al-Mishari said the initiative would help underdeveloped economies adopt AI for the benefit of their citizens.

The technology, according to Al-Mishari, will contribute billions to the national gross domestic product. Moreover, it could energize the economy with jobs, investments and opportunities for the Kingdom.

“Data is the new oil, and it’s our perception and belief of anything we could get out of data,” Al-Mishari said.

Public Sector Cloud

“SDAIA operates one of the largest government clouds in the region, hosting around 140 government entities and providing 35 different cloud services,” Nawaf Al-Sahan, head of cloud computing at the National Information Center, told Arab News.

NIC also leveraged its government cloud DEEM, founded in late 2018, as a proof of concept and has grown rapidly since then.

At this point, the NIC’s mandate is only to serve public sector companies, so he added that DEEM exclusively serves public projects.

Their in-house team, made up entirely of Saudi engineers, women and men, developed the cloud.

“I am happy that our team is made up entirely of Saudis, young engineers, men and women. So this cloud is entirely built by our Saudi talents,” Al-Sahan said.

When it comes to cloud security, NIC implements strict measures. Two teams are responsible for securing the cloud, a larger governance, risk, and compliance team does oversight for them, and an internal team performs penetration testing and their day-to-day security operations. , did he declare.

Al-Sahan said the NIC has currently completed its three-year strategy for 2025.

As part of this strategy or roadmap, external vendors and partners participate in the government cloud, he said.

“So, we’re going to open up a bit for trusted partners to be part of the government cloud and provide unique services to government entities,” he concluded.

A million riyal idea

SDAIA, in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Housing and the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, announced “Smartathon – The Smart Cities Challenge” with prizes totaling SR1,000,000, according to Sattam Alsubaiee, Deputy Director for the ideas at the NIC.

The contest is open to anyone around the world, he said. SDAIA wants participants to develop AI models that automatically detect visual pollution.

“We give them the data, and everyone is invited to participate, take that data and build AI models that can detect visual pollution,” Alsubaiee told Arab News.

Because humans have limited resources, SDAIA and its partners don’t want to deploy a vast workforce to detect this visual pollution with their eyes.

“You can’t deploy thousands of inspectors trying to find all the visual pollution in every city. So we want the machine to help us automate solving this problem,” he added.

Alsubaiee cited graffiti on the walls, shoddy billboards and potholes as examples of visual pollutants.

SDAIA is releasing the data they already have and have collected to invite everyone to contribute and help them solve these problems, he said.

“We want to make Saudi Arabia one of the smartest countries in the world, not just at the city level, but at the country level,” he concluded.


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